19/02/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


19/02/2012

Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest from Greece on the debt crisis, John Prescott on police commissioners and an interview with Scottish secretary Michael Moore.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 19/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Coming up in Northern Ireland: Testing times in education - as

:01:27.:01:30.

schools fight to keep selection, can the Catholic Church break the

:01:30.:01:40.
:01:40.:01:40.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1721 seconds

:01:40.:30:21.

deadlock? We'll ask Bishop Donal Hello and welcome to Sunday

:30:21.:30:24.

Politics in Northern Ireland. Cast your mind back to last week when

:30:24.:30:27.

the Finance Minister told us welfare reform was about creating a

:30:27.:30:29.

fairer system for taxpayers and getting people back to work. But

:30:29.:30:38.

what about the changes to housing benefit? It is moving towards an

:30:38.:30:45.

American situation. And it's more than 10 years since Martin

:30:45.:30:47.

McGuinness announced plans to scrap the 11-plus, but academic selection

:30:47.:30:51.

shows no sign of being consigned to the history books. What's the

:30:51.:30:55.

solution? In a moment, I'll be asking our political guests of the

:30:55.:31:04.

day for their answers. So, the time for fine words is over.

:31:04.:31:06.

But as Catholic grammars continue to back selection, the Education

:31:06.:31:09.

Minister, John O'Dowd, has said it's up to the Church to break the

:31:10.:31:19.
:31:20.:31:20.

deadlock. I'm joined by Bishop Donal McKeown. The minister has

:31:20.:31:26.

thrown down the gauntlet. Where you pick it up? We all recognise, in

:31:26.:31:33.

education, that the key thing here it is not selection. The key thing

:31:33.:31:38.

is how do we create an education system for our young people, fit

:31:38.:31:44.

for the 21st century? This system we have had is a result of another

:31:44.:31:49.

era. Until the early seventies, those children who do not go to

:31:49.:31:58.

grammar schools, had no qualifications. In Northern Ireland,

:31:58.:32:03.

at 40% over our school leavers leave without GCSEs. We have to

:32:03.:32:09.

find a way of educating our young people with excellence. It is a

:32:09.:32:13.

mistake to focus on the idea of selection. But that is the focus.

:32:13.:32:19.

10 years ago, the Education Minister has grabbed the 11-plus.

:32:19.:32:25.

Do you have the authority to stop schools having the 11-plus? We are

:32:25.:32:31.

looking to find a way for how every area can look after its children.

:32:31.:32:37.

And what we come across his parents who say they want the best for

:32:37.:32:44.

their children. But do you have the authority to Scott -- stop schools

:32:44.:32:50.

under your control having a selection test? Decisions are made

:32:50.:33:00.

by boards or governors. They ultimately are the ones who make

:33:00.:33:04.

decisions about entrance criteria for schools. We have to recognise

:33:04.:33:10.

the equilibrium between parents and principles, and trustees. They all

:33:10.:33:15.

have a role to play. The Catholic Church is not a Stalinist

:33:15.:33:19.

organisation. We are looking to find a way where our society does

:33:19.:33:25.

not keep avoiding the real issue at how to look after 100% of our

:33:25.:33:33.

children, and not just 40%. If the education minister it says we must

:33:33.:33:38.

scrap selection, it would you bring that in it and scrap selection and

:33:38.:33:44.

I have a merger? The trustees are at looking for a solution for North

:33:44.:33:54.

Belfast. None of this court will be able to say they stand alone. --

:33:54.:33:58.

none of this calls. The idea of faith and Catholicism it is that we

:33:58.:34:02.

are responsible for one another and with one another for global out

:34:02.:34:10.

comes. Therefore, no one can stand alone. There is a social justice

:34:10.:34:16.

and moral issue here. But that is what is happening - parents and

:34:16.:34:22.

trustees are protecting themselves. The trustees are clear - we are

:34:22.:34:27.

moving away from a selection. Psychologists say you cannot

:34:27.:34:33.

measure intelligence, in a way that makes you able to allocate two

:34:33.:34:43.
:34:43.:34:49.

separate sort of education. That is psychological bunkum. So you do

:34:49.:34:54.

need to get rid of selection? course you do. Every other society

:34:54.:34:59.

has done. We have got a mediocre system, precisely because of

:34:59.:35:08.

academic selection. 40% do not have five GCSEs! Has the commission

:35:08.:35:14.

failed in its role to convince the Catholic grammars sector to end

:35:14.:35:24.
:35:24.:35:27.

selection? We began this process five years ago. We cannot give

:35:27.:35:33.

everybody... Leadership is about saying, wet your weak crude be

:35:33.:35:42.

sustainable future for all of young people? -- where can we create. We

:35:42.:35:49.

are taking a lot of risks to find an agreed way forward. But we all

:35:49.:35:54.

need to look after everybody, and look out for everybody. Would be

:35:54.:36:00.

better if tests were made illegal? That will not happen. We cannot

:36:00.:36:04.

pretend it's something happened, things would be different. But why

:36:04.:36:14.

a woman not happen? -- but why will it not happen? Because politicians

:36:14.:36:20.

have argued that tests remained legal. We have to find ways of

:36:20.:36:27.

reassuring parents, who want good education for their children, but

:36:27.:36:36.

you do not have to have academic selection. That people need not be

:36:36.:36:40.

afraid of change, because we were not experiment on your children -

:36:40.:36:44.

we are looking to find a solid chance a mission to a better way.

:36:45.:36:53.

We have to challenge those who are concerned only for themselves. --

:36:53.:37:01.

we are looking to find a solution. Your party is opposed to scrapping

:37:01.:37:05.

selection. Do you understand and take on board some of these things

:37:05.:37:11.

the bishop has said? The bishop is a right when he said it legally,

:37:11.:37:21.
:37:21.:37:22.

nothing will change. Let us dispense MF - that testing does not

:37:22.:37:30.

take place in it not selective schools. -- dispense a mirthful

:37:30.:37:39.

stop -- take place in non selective schools. An example within the

:37:39.:37:45.

Catholic sector, given to us as an example of a bilateral school,

:37:45.:37:51.

which has moved away from the selective system - this tests

:37:51.:38:01.
:38:01.:38:03.

children very aggressively. It establishes a level of ability, on

:38:03.:38:11.

where that child should be placed to get the best education. What has

:38:11.:38:16.

happened within the Catholic sector is a reflection of what has

:38:16.:38:21.

happened in society - parents still believe, and have that choice, to

:38:21.:38:26.

make a choice of a school that uses academic assessment. Can we get a

:38:26.:38:36.
:38:36.:38:37.

better way of doing it? I believe we can. In discussions I have had,

:38:37.:38:42.

I believe progress is being made. But that progress will not be made

:38:42.:38:48.

at the expense of non-selective schools. We have to ensure that we

:38:48.:38:56.

have a provision which has bought all the children. His there a

:38:56.:39:04.

double standard in your party? Your party will never abolish selection,

:39:04.:39:14.
:39:14.:39:17.

will it? Let us look at the Bishop's record. A Sinn Fein

:39:17.:39:23.

solution will fail. They did not have the power to prevent sectarian

:39:23.:39:29.

exams getting started. We need to start from the fact that the

:39:29.:39:33.

current way we do selection is inappropriate. No one believes

:39:34.:39:40.

there are merits in subjecting children to exams. What pressure

:39:40.:39:46.

you put in on the Catholic Church in particular? We need to try and

:39:46.:39:50.

have a proper political debate. you have been debating this for 10

:39:50.:39:57.

years? No, we haven't. How many times have children or -- have

:39:57.:40:01.

people debated the future of education? And one manifesto, for

:40:01.:40:11.
:40:11.:40:12.

example, we made recommendations about the types of education. -- in

:40:12.:40:18.

a word manifesto. There is an awful habit of looking south of the

:40:18.:40:22.

border. We should not be thinking that way. We should be thinking

:40:22.:40:27.

about what works here, which are good second racecourse and grammars.

:40:27.:40:37.
:40:37.:40:38.

Do we have the courage to build on that? -- good secondary schools. We

:40:38.:40:48.

need educational excellence, not just academic. Bishop, or back to

:40:48.:40:58.
:40:58.:40:58.

the original point, all you do in the meantime? -- what will you do.

:40:58.:41:04.

We have to face the need for change, and find ways forward as a society.

:41:04.:41:09.

The danger is that decisions are taken by none education. I have a

:41:09.:41:17.

passion for it. I told the 23 years. I come with a passion for education.

:41:17.:41:23.

-- I taught for. We must look after our young people. We cannot just

:41:23.:41:29.

focus on success of aim minority. We will remain in the doldrums and

:41:29.:41:39.
:41:39.:41:43.

the sweet educate all our young people. -- and educate.

:41:43.:41:46.

Among the raft of welfare reforms heading towards us from Westminster

:41:46.:41:49.

is a major cut to housing benefit. Welfare rights campaigners fear it

:41:49.:41:52.

will lead to widespread social upheaval as people are forced to

:41:52.:41:54.

move home. Yvette Shapiro has been to Derry, where tenants and

:41:54.:42:04.
:42:04.:42:08.

landlords are feeling the effects Eamonn Brown is unemployed and

:42:08.:42:13.

lives alone in a one-bedroom flat in Derry's Bogside. His rent of

:42:13.:42:18.

more than �80 a week is covered by housing benefit. Under the new

:42:18.:42:21.

rules affecting private sector tenants aged 24-35, he'll be

:42:21.:42:26.

reassed later this year, and his benefit will be more than halved.

:42:26.:42:34.

Eamonn will have to move to a shared house. I am angry about it.

:42:34.:42:40.

It is not just me, this affect everybody. I will have to live with

:42:40.:42:47.

other people. The ball who pay taxes will be made homeless because

:42:47.:42:56.

of these cuts. -- people. Berry has one of the most unemployed places

:42:56.:43:06.
:43:06.:43:10.

in Northern Ireland. Landlords have to get the best possible deal

:43:10.:43:15.

themselves. It is a business, at the end of the day. If it is a

:43:15.:43:20.

choice between taking reduced rent and no rent, I think I know what

:43:20.:43:23.

decision the landlord will make. Again, it will vary from place to

:43:23.:43:29.

place. In some places, they will be able to hold up. In other places,

:43:29.:43:35.

the rent or be forced down, and somebody may have to move from one

:43:35.:43:39.

part of the city to another. minister concedes that his

:43:39.:43:41.

department and the housing executive, which is under his

:43:41.:43:43.

control, has failed to build enough accommodation for single people,

:43:43.:43:46.

young and old. A new housing strategy, due to be unveiled

:43:46.:43:48.

shortly, will contain plans for remodelling existing properties and

:43:48.:43:57.

building new ones. He won't be drawn on suggestions that landlords

:43:57.:43:59.

may be able to get grants to convert properties into shared

:43:59.:44:06.

houses for single people. The changes to housing benefit aren't

:44:06.:44:09.

just affecting young single tenants. Welfare rights campaigners fear

:44:09.:44:12.

there will be widespread social upheaval and hardship as a result

:44:12.:44:20.

of the benefit cuts. It is really moving towards an American

:44:20.:44:25.

situation, where children are moved from pillar to post, moving schools

:44:25.:44:29.

within the school year. The difference between us and America

:44:29.:44:36.

is housing benefit. It is the big difference. There is a danger of

:44:36.:44:45.

being extremist and alarmist. There may be folk living in houses that

:44:45.:44:52.

are too expensive for their situation. They may have to move to

:44:52.:44:58.

other accommodation. Folk move all the time. Last year, more than half

:44:58.:45:01.

a billion pounds was paid out in housing benefit in Northern Ireland,

:45:01.:45:04.

an increase of nearly 11 % on the previous 12 months. Almost 280

:45:04.:45:09.

million of that went to private landlords. It's estimated that the

:45:09.:45:12.

latest benefit changes will affect around 6000 young people, losing on

:45:12.:45:18.

average �29 per week. A discretionary payment fund,

:45:18.:45:22.

operated by the housing executive, is to be doubled in April. Almost

:45:22.:45:25.

3.5 million will be made available to help tenants who are facing cuts

:45:25.:45:29.

in their housing benefit. But is there more that Stormont

:45:29.:45:36.

politicians could do to soften the blow? They could introduce rent

:45:36.:45:43.

control, they could ensure hardship payments, but they will be

:45:44.:45:49.

available to everybody. And that those payments will continue.

:45:49.:45:57.

bear a lot of young people who need housing. You will see people

:45:57.:46:07.
:46:07.:46:18.

His Romanes as saying that people need to get on their bikes? -- is

:46:18.:46:28.
:46:28.:46:32.

your minister. They need to address the concerns that exist. The

:46:32.:46:39.

Minister is very clear - it is regrettable that while other

:46:39.:46:43.

parties have responsibility for housing provision, they have

:46:43.:46:47.

decided to build three bedroom provisions, as opposed to dealing

:46:47.:46:54.

with the issue of the housing waiting list. Over half of that is

:46:54.:46:59.

single parents. There is a legacy there that needs to be addressed.

:46:59.:47:07.

It was all your fault, then? when you we could build enough

:47:07.:47:17.

houses. -- if only we could. This is the tip of the iceberg. The

:47:17.:47:21.

minister for social development is saying this is the type of merger

:47:21.:47:28.

that will impact even worse than this region. What would you do

:47:28.:47:35.

differently? We are about to have the acid test of this in the

:47:35.:47:44.

assembly. I that they step up to the mark -- by the they step. If we

:47:44.:47:48.

don't stand and a ground here, and have a welfare system for this

:47:48.:47:54.

region, and we don't do it soon, we will effectively surrender or

:47:54.:47:59.

control over support for the most marginalised in our society to the

:47:59.:48:07.

British government. Would you support that? It is in Westminster

:48:07.:48:13.

that gives us the money to run away services. There are many people,

:48:13.:48:18.

working families, who listen to this programme, who have concern

:48:18.:48:22.

about the income they get. The issue that needs to be addressed is

:48:22.:48:27.

by way of getting a fair and balanced system.

:48:27.:48:30.

Now for our regular look at the week in sixty seconds, this time in

:48:30.:48:37.

the company of political correspondent, Gareth Gordon.

:48:37.:48:40.

A good week for the construction industry as the Executive confirmed

:48:40.:48:45.

almost �600 million is to be spent on roads and hospitals. But there

:48:45.:48:48.

was disappointment for those needing answers about the La Mon

:48:48.:48:58.
:48:58.:48:59.

bombing. There is very little information. A lot of questions are

:48:59.:49:02.

left unanswered. Glasgow Rangers faced their most

:49:02.:49:06.

difficult opponent - the tax man. It was asked why MLAs couldn't be

:49:06.:49:08.

officially allowed to use iPads in the Assembly, and we learnt

:49:08.:49:15.

listening is also a problem for these men. I couldn't anything at

:49:15.:49:22.

all with my left ear. I woke up in the morning. There was no illness

:49:22.:49:29.

or accident associated with it. And in Derry, the new Peace Plaza

:49:29.:49:32.

was opened on Valentine's Night - the perfect occasion for couples

:49:32.:49:42.
:49:42.:49:53.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS